Clinton says Haiti’s development prospects can still be good
Former President Bill Clinton, who is helping to coordinate global relief for Haiti with former President George W. Bush, says the quake-stricken country could bounce back much more quickly than people might think.
Clinton told NBC’s Today show that Haiti had made it onto the path to modernization when the earthquake struck on Tuesday. But he denied claims that the devastation may have set the impoverished country’s development back by half a century.
“Because they started from a low base, we can reconstitute where they are quicker than everyone thinks. I just do not agree that they’ve been set back 50 years,” he said. “If we go back to work, we’ll be all right.”
Clinton, whose wife Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is at the forefront of U.S. government relief efforts, also made an impassioned plea for donations to meet the immediate needs of people thrust violently into a hellish existence.
“Think how you would feel if you lost everything, you were wandering around streets at night that were all dark, you were tripping over bodies living and dead, and you didn’t have water to drink or food to eat,” he told CNN.
“That’s why giving money now in small amounts … even if you just have $5 or $10 to give, this is a big deal,” added Clinton, who is also the U.N. special envoy to Haiti.
“They have made a decision to claim the future for the first time in my lifetime. We can do this, if we can survive the next week or two.”
Photo credits: Reuters/Lucas Jackson (Bill Clinton); Reuters/U.N. handout (A Family in Port-au-Prince); Reuters/U.N. handout (Bodies of the Victims)